Tokyo Fiancée

Written by Amélie Nothomb | Translated by Alison Anderson | 2009
Tokyo Fiancée
(Europa Editions, 2009)

“Why must pleasure always have a price? And why must one always pay for sensual delight with the loss of original lightness?”

Amélie is a young language teacher living in Tokyo. When she succumbs to the attentions of her one and only student—the shy, wealthy, and oh-so-Japanese Rinri—the lovers-to-be find themselves swept along by an affair that is as unusual as it is tender. This is a new kind of love story that pits a woman’s desire for companionship against her strong sense of individual identity. In its exploration of contemporary themes—the confidence of independence, the possibility of love as a form of limitation—Tokyo Fiancée foregoes conventions to create a compelling image of love for the contemporary woman, an anti-Prince-Charming story that is an antidote to traditional romantic fables.

The author brings humor, intelligence, and a refreshing honesty to this highly autobiographical work. Her storytelling appeals to those who feel that their own immediate and personal sense of love is seldom adequately represented in popular fiction. This splendid novel offers readers a quietly revolutionary vision of romantic love.

Reviews:

"Soon, between the sake and the cherry blossoms, [the protagonists] are in a relationship, exquisite and strange; bound by politeness, respect and a love for language." - Los Angeles Times

"Nothomb’s novel traces the delightfully absurd affair between a Belgian language teacher and her Japanese student." - New York times Book Review (Editor's Choice)

"Soufflé-light yet scalpel-sharp, this tale of the pitfalls of language barriers and the pleasures of culture shock is a page-turning treat."
- Seattle Times

"While the plot and its tender ending are moving, it is Amélie’s amused appreciation of Japanese culture that captures and holds a reader's attention." - Boston Globe

"[A] spare, elegant novel." - New York Times

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.

More new titles

new titles

Villa Triste

This novel by Nobel Prize–winning author Patrick Modiano is one of the most seductive and accessible in his oeuvre: the story of a man’s memories of fleeing responsibility, finding love, and searching for meaning in an uncertain world.
new titles

The Past Ahead

The Past Ahead is the story of the destinies of two people after their experiences of the genocide in Rwanda. Isaro is orphaned, exiled, and now returned to her native country. Niko is a character in a novel that Isaro writes to help her understand her country's recent horrific past.
new titles

Giving Life, Giving Death

Although women alone have the ability to bring children into the world, modern Western thought tends to discount this female prerogative. In "Giving Life, Giving Death", Lucien Scubla argues that structural anthropology sees women as objects of exchange that facilitate alliance-building rather than as vectors of continuity between generations.